May 16, 2022
Two weeks ago, on Monday, May 2nd, our devotion was on Acts 9:18-31. If you recall, Saul of Tarsus, was on the road to Damascus, eager to kill the Lord’s followers. On that journey, he had a life changing encounter with the Lord, and Saul (who would later be called Paul…a.k.a. the “Apostle Paul”) was saved and his life would be eternally devoted to the Lord. During that time, as Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with believers, but they were afraid of him. Rightfully so, as Saul spent much of the first half of his life persecuting Christians. Barnabas even had to vouch for Saul with the apostles. So, the apostles agreed to send Saul home, and he remained there for an estimated seven to ten years.
In our passage today, the leaders of the church in Jerusalem hear that more and more Gentiles are coming to faith. So, they send Barnabas out to see what is happening. Remember, prior to Saul’s conversion to Christianity, his persecution of the church in Jerusalem caused many Christians to flee in fear. These Christ-followers took their stories of Jesus with them, and they shared and shared them with others. Barnabas realizes that these Gentiles have faith in Christ, and they need help being taught about Him. So, he sends for Saul in Tarsus, and this is where Saul’s work among the Gentiles truly begins. From this point, the Book of Acts turns to Saul, or within chapter 13 he uses the Greek variation of his name, Paul, and his evangelistic work explodes for the Kingdom. The Lord gave Paul and Barnabas this command, “I have made you a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.” (Acts 13:47).
You and I need to hold firm to Paul’s teaching in Galatians 2:20 that “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So, I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” This Truth needs to be our daily motivator to share the love of Christ with others. Evangelists, share the love of Christ with others. They reveal the kindness, encouragement, forgiveness, and honesty of Christ, which is revealing the heart of Christ. So, really, we all are evangelist for Christ, in one way or another, we are all called to be the light of Christ and to spread salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.
Acts 11:19-26 NLT
The Church in Antioch of Syria
19 Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews. 20 However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. 21 The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord.
22 When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. 24 Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26 When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the evangelistic spirit that the Apostle Paul has and teaches us to have for You and Your Kingdom. Help me, Lord, to be bolder when sharing Your love with others. I cannot thank You enough for what You have done and continue to do for me, and I want to lovingly share Your light with others. Be my guide, Lord. I ask this in Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.